Terroir is traditionally defined as “the sum of every environmental force affecting a given vineyard site” (Karen MacNeil, Wine Bible 2nd Edition). To many in the industry it’s considered a French fantasy; for others it is gospel. And just recently the word seems to have jumped the fence (or maybe the shark) into the spirit industry.
Etymology aside, why should we care about the credibility, definition or the myth/reality about the term? The answer lies in the revolution in wine and spirit conversation that is social media.
Terroir’s traditional definition speaks to the uniqueness of where a wine is produced and the collective impact of the soil, slope, exposure, microbes in the soil, microclimate et al.
We’re seeing a paradigm shift now however, with the word is taking root among Millennials in a new definition for wine: where it is consumed, and with whom.
And let’s be clear, I’m not advocating this use, just reporting on it.